A belated welcome to 2023 and an update and bulletin on our activities and local events.
Our first meeting of the year took place on Thursday January 12th – following our regular patter this was a hybrid meeting using Zoom for online attendees and with an in person gathering at the Phoenix Community Centre. The notes from this meeting can be found HERE
A big topic for this meeting was the Bright Start Nursery – a council run nursery in the North Laine close to the Prince Regent swimming pool. It has come under threat of closure because the council need to find savings of up to £20 million this year. Amy Lou (worker) and Anneke (parent of child attending BS) shared their concerns around the proposed closure and to share information about the local campaign to to ask the council to continue to fund the service. Bright Start is seen as an excellent local provision which supports many vulnerable children and their families in our area and there is a real fear of increased hardship for current attendees as well as the loss to our community and future attendees, however, the building is expensive to run and needs investment, and the council have no choice but to find savings or risk finances being taken over directly by central government.
Councillor Gibson who was present at the meeting said that the administration have no wish to close the nursery (having campaigned to keep it open several times in the past) and is keen for an alternative solution. The current budget plans are the administration proposals and are open to amendment at the budget council where (because this is a minority administration) the final budget will depend on some degree of support and collaboration with other political groups and independent Councillors.
For information on the campaign and to sign the petition see https://www.change.org/p/save-bright-start-brighton-s-city-centre-council-run-nursery
For information on the current council budget setting process see https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2022/setting-council-budget-and-council-tax-202324
The other main topic this month was the Ward Member Budget allocation. Each year Councillors are given £1000 each to use to support local projects which benefit people in their ward. Although the final decision on how this is used is up to each Councillor, our Hanover & Elm Grove members have always looked to involve residents via the forum in making these decisions.
They are now looking for suggestions from residents or local groups for projects which they could fund. With £3000 in the pot, this could provide valued local activities and improvements, and there are no particular rules as to what can be funded or who can apply as long as there is a clear local benefit. To give a variety of projects for diverse groups, funded activities tend to come in at £200 or below per project.
Funding has previously been awarded to a wide range of local initiatives including: Mural projects (see pic above), tree planting, food projects, bike recycling, street planters, and general support for local groups
If you have any ideas for a project or local improvement, get in touch with your Councillors and share it with them. Suggested proposals will be discussed at the March Communities Forum meeting (March 2nd) with decisions made and funding allocated.
Contact details for your councilors can be found HERE
The next Forum meeting will be held as usual on the second Thursday of the month – February 9th – online and in person at the Phoenix Community Centre. If you would like to join our mailing list and receive a link for the meeting, contact us at